Archived press release
Press & Media
Commenting on the transport related announcements in today's Budget, Friends of the Earth's transport campaigner Richard Dyer said:
"Once again the Government has failed to grasp the importance of taking urgent action to cut transport emissions in order to tackle climate change.
“Government policies should strongly encourage people to use greener transport options like trains and buses, walking and cycling – but the measures announced today are just tinkering at the edges.
"Hard shoulder running is motorway-widening by stealth, and this will increase traffic and increase emissions.
“The fuel duty rise is a step in the right direction, but it should be introduced now - not phased in over the next ten months.
“The overall cost of motoring has steadily fallen under Labour while public transport fares have risen – Ministers must make it cheaper and easier to travel by greener means.”
Notes to editors:
1. Last month the Government revealed that between1997 and 2009 rail fares increased by 13 per cent while the real cost of motoring, including the purchase of a vehicle, declined by 14 per cent. The cost of the average UK one-way air fare, including taxes and charges, covering domestic flights fell by 35 per cent between 1997 and 2008. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmhansrd/cm100205/text/100205w0001.htm
2. Delaying the fuel duty rise will cost the Treasury over half a billion pounds – funds that could pay for the nine most congested urban areas in the Country to introduce Smarter Travel Choices measures that would get people out of their cars in favour of walking and cycling and using public transport. The Government announced that a Sustainable Travel City pilot project in 2009 would cost £29million for at least one city, see http://www.dft.gov.uk/press/speechesstatements/statements/wmssustravelcity However the pilot was recently cancelled.
3. In January 2010, UK petrol prices were ninth most expensive in the EU-15 – cheaper than France and Germany and only slightly more than Ireland. UK tax as percentage of petrol pump price is same as Germany (65 per cent) and only 1 per cent more than France. UK diesel prices in January 2010 were most expensive in the EU-15 and tax was highest percentage of pump price (64 per cent). Tax as a percentage of diesel pump price fell slightly between January 2009 and January 2010 from 66 per cent to 64 per cent. See http://decc.gov.uk/media/viewfile.ashx?filepath=statistics/source/prices/qep511.xls&filetype=4.
4. Friends of the Earth also welcomed the cut in company car tax for low carbon vehicles.